With global oil prices flailing, Saudi Arabia is turning to another natural resource: billions of dollars gained from religious tourism as the kingdom hosts the annual hajj pilgrimage. “The money spent by pilgrims this year could be from 20 to 25 billion riyals (5.3 to 6.7 billion dollars),” said Maher Jamal, head of Makkah’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry - an estimated 70 percent increase from the previous year.
“This visit comes where Egyptians are wounded because of what happens, wounded in their hearts and when a Pope comes is to consolidate and give his solidarity to all the people,” said Rafik Grish, Coptic Catholic church spokesman. [...] Pope Francis will visit Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral to pray for the 28 people killed in a Christmas season blast last year.
The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday appointed Rasha Atamny, 31, to represent the Jewish state in Ankara, Turkey, making her Israel’s first female Muslim diplomat [...] “This time I listened to the speeches from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt condemning Israel’s ‘systematic violations of women’s rights’ while I, an Arab-Muslim woman of Palestinian origin represent Israel at the UN General Assembly,” she said.
Nearly 12 years ago, Hamdia Ahmed boarded a plane bound for America. She had spent nearly all her young life in the Dadaab in Kenya, the world’s largest refugee camp, along with hundreds of thousands of other Somalis fleeing civil war. [...] Now the 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Southern Maine is finding her voice advocating for Portland’s Muslim and immigrant community, which is on edge since Donald Trump was elected president using anti-immigrant rhetoric and vowing “America first” policies, such as tightening the borders.
"The greatest damage might be in the realm of public diplomacy," write Nathan Brown and Michelle Dunne of the Carnegie Middle East Center. "Using a broad brush to paint all Muslim Brotherhood organizations as terrorists would be understood by many Muslims around the world as a declaration of war against non-violent political Islamists — and indeed against Islam itself."
Modern art by Arab artists will take over the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA) this November. [...] Given the political tensions in the region, the exhibition marks a significant moment of cultural diplomacy between Tehran and Sharjah. “Art is important in that it allows experiences to be shared, even across the boundaries of language or culture,” said the director of TMoCA
Over the last year, emoji developers and public figures have argued that the universal emoji keyboard makes it difficult, if not impossible, for women to represent themselves beyond a bride or princess. Recent successful proposals will rectify that problem by offering dozens of new female characters who do things like work in tech, ride a bike, lift weights and weld.
Inside the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial chapel, built where terrorists attacked the building nearly 15 years ago, the Muslim call to prayer goes out. The man who will lead prayer, Dawud Agbere, is one of five Muslim Army chaplains. Since being stationed at the Pentagon, he leads afternoon prayer, giving fellow Muslims at work a chance to connect with their creator.